Secret Mommy Plays

For an electronic album to be entirely created from organic sounds should be a contradiction in terms but as always, Andy Dixon works around a concept, and on Plays there is not a single electrified instrument in sight. Previous ventures include Very Rec, which used only the sampling of recreational events and environments, and Hawaii 5.0, which used only the sounds of tropical regions. Despite the absence of drum machines and synths, this still manages to fall into the realm of IDM due to the massive automated bastardisation of many of the samples used, and there are certainly a wide variety, from the mandolin to a violin played with Styrofoam. However, one of the album’s best attributes is the perfect balance of natural sounds in contrast with the manipulated recordings. A number of tracks are pleasantly reminiscent of Prefuse 73 Reads The Books in instrumentation and upbeat optimism ("Kool Aid River” and "Diciduism”) but the title track epitomises the essence of Plays, from the virginal woodwind sounds and glitchy percussion to the distorted beeps and contorted vocals, with uplifting wails of resolution. (Ache)